GAINESVILLE - The chairman of the Hall County Republican Party welcomes the decision by Senator Zell Miller not to run for re-election next year.
Ellard is still chafing from the fact that Georgia's Democratic governor, Roy Barnes, appointed Miller, a Democrat, to fill the vacancy left by the July 2000 death of Republican incumbent Paul Coverdell.
"We should have had a Republican appointed by the governor for Paul Coverdell's spot to start with," Ellard said.
Ellard acknowledged, however, that Republicans "warmed-up" to Miller despite his party label because has often voted with the president and the GOP.
"Now, I respect and appreciate him for that," he added.
Ellard said the state definitely needs another Republican senator to "help (Sen.) Saxby Chambliss and President Bush."
But, Ellard said "I hate to start naming names, because I think we've really got a lot of good (potential) candidates."
Ellard did mention Congressmen Nathan Deal of Gainesville, Jack Kingston and Johnny Isakson.
"I wish that Nathan Deal would be interested but I doubt that the interest is there (although) I don't know that."
Deal is quoted by The Times in Gainesville as saying he may consider seeking the post, but "hasn't given it much thought." Efforts to reach Deal for further comment have thusfar been unsuccessful.
Likewise, phone calls to the chairman of the Hall County Democractic Party, Bill Chandler, for reaction to Miller's decision, have not been returned.